More than half of Americans think gun crime has jumped, the Bureau of Justice Statistics report noted. Researchers aren’t sure why there’s the misperception.
By Emily Alpert, Los Angeles Times
May 7, 2013, 8:59 p.m.
The number of violent crimes involving guns has plummeted in the last two decades, but more than half of Americans think the opposite is true, according to reports released Tuesday.
Killings, assaults, robberies and other crimes involving guns have dropped since their peak in the mid-1990s, the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics reported.
The rate of killings by gun has been cut nearly in half, according to another analysis of the same data by the Pew Research Center. The rate of other violent gun crimes fell even more sharply, by 75%, paralleling a broader drop in violent crimes committed with or without guns. Violent crime dropped steeply during the 1990s and has fallen less dramatically since the turn of the millennium.
However, guns remain the most common murder weapon in the United States, the Bureau of Justice Statistics report noted. Between 1993 and 2011, more than two out of three killings in the U.S. were carried out with guns, the bureau found.
The facts are at odds with public perception, according to the results of a survey by the Pew center.
Despite the steep drop in gun crime, only 12% of Americans surveyed said they believed crimes with firearms had declined over the last two decades, Pew found in a survey of more than 900 adults this spring. Twenty-six percent said it had stayed the same, and 56% thought it had increased.
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